Quezon City, Philippines — The Philippines has great stories to tell and the world is just waiting for them. The country’s wealth of legends and folklore in the form of graphic novels, young adult and children’s literature and contemporary fiction will be featured in this year’s London Book Fair (LBF), which will be held from April 5 to 7, 2022 in Olympia at Kensington, London. Through the National Book Development Board (NBDB), the Philippines will participate in this event for the very first time. 

The London Book Fair is one of the largest international rights trade fairs in the world. International publications and producers in the film, television, theater arts, and music industries seeking compelling works for global adaptation will get to catch the best works of Filipino authors and publishers.  

An Archipelago of Stories

As the lead agency in research and development of books, the NBDB will highlight the broad spectrum of Philippine works, including these titles: 

Doll Eyes, written by Eline Santos and illustrated by Joy Mallari (published by CANVAS)

This beautifully illustrated children’s book is set in Quiapo—a place where myth, marketplace, and church mingle. In this busy district, the old doll-maker Manang Bolabola runs her shop. Inside is a room filled with the most exquisite dolls, their eyes made of precious gemstones. Curious children enter her store, but never come out.

Mga Batang Poz by Segundo Matias, Jr. (published by Lampara Publishing House, Inc.) 

Mga Batang Poz” centers around four online friends who embark on a two-day road trip. Three of them–Gab, Enzo, and Luis–are discreet gays, while Chuchay is the proudly effeminate character. Despite coming from different walks of life, they learn that they share a common truth: they are People Living with HIV (PLHIV).

Tales from the Southern Kingdom by Virginia Villanueva (published by Ateneo de Manila University Press) 

This collection of legends, folklore, and children’s stories reflect the culture and the environment of the Sama and Tausug people. Hence, it abounds with tales of seas and oceans, mermaids, boat-people, warriors, and religious characters from distant past imbued with magical overtones through decades of telling and retelling.

High Hopes and Possibilities

Attending the London Book Fair will be NBDB Executive Director Charisse Aquino-Tugade, NBDB Project Lead of the National Book Database Kevin Ansel Dy, and Komiket founder Paolo Herras. They will be engaging with publishers and literary agents.  

“We are thrilled to finally travel and meet with international publishers. The world deserves our stories and the London Book Fair opens a great opportunity for works of our authors, illustrators and  publishers to gain a wider audience. This fair is the best place to start,” shared Tugade.

Komiks publisher Paolo Herras revealed, “Filipino Comics is one of the most underrepresented and exploited genres.  We’re not studied in colleges or universities, we’re not found in the K-12 curriculum, national writer’s workshops, or most national awards. But we are already crossing territories, getting picked up by international publishers around the world, and venturing forth into live-action films, animation, content platforms, video games, toys, and other merchandise. So we’re mighty proud to be representing the Philippines in the London Book Fair. It’s about time.”

Reconnect in the Diaspora 

The Filipino community in the United Kingdom is in full support of this distinguished book event. Acclaimed writers like Candy Gourlay (author of the award-winning Tall Story) who are also based in the UK will be visiting the Philippine stand.

The Philippine Embassy in London will host a lecture by the NBDB on April 8, 2022 at the Sentro Rizal, a platform sharing Philippine culture, history, and art. Executive Director Charisse Aquino-Tugade will lead the conversation on decolonizing the reading landscape in the Philippines. 

The World Deserves Our Stories

As travel restrictions relax, the publishing world finally reconnects to produce more works to be enjoyed by readers worldwide. The Philippines is on track to be one of the content powerhouses that will enrich not only the literary scene but other forms of media as well. The NBDB is at the forefront of paving the way for Filipino works to reach a global audience, because the world deserves our stories.

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Books Philippines is located at Booth 2A01 Olympia Exhibition Centre, West Kensington, London.

The London Book Fair opens on Tuesday (April 5 at 9:00 AM – 6:30 PM),  Wednesday (April 6 at 9:00 AM – 6:30 PM), and Thursday (April 7 at 9:00 AM – 5:00 PM).

For more information on the Philippines’ participation in the London Book Fair, please visit: www.booksphilippines.gov.ph/bookfair or contact bookfairs@nbdb.gov.ph
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